iPhone and iPad Mac Security

Protect Your iCloud Account With These 4 Easy Steps

Dann Albright 28-09-2016

iCloud has been the victim of a few hacks and attacks in recent memory, including the massive leak of celebrity photos in 2014 Apple Investigates Celebrity Nudes, YouTube Introduces Tip Jar, And More... [Tech News Digest] Also, looking forward to the Internet Slowdown, Windows XP edges 1% closer to death, play Star Citizen for free, the new Raspberry Pi Web browser, and the wearables we narrowly avoided. Read More . Apple has done its best to make the service as safe as possible by providing a number of challenges and levels of encryption for attackers to get through, and it’s actually quite secure.


But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take steps to make sure that no one gets access to your iCloud information. Even if you don’t keep important files in there, your iCloud Keychain Should You Use iCloud Keychain to Sync Passwords on Mac & iOS? If you primarily use Apple products, why not use the company's own password manager completely free of charge? Read More could contain valuable passwords that someone could misuse if they got a hold of them.

Here’s what you need to do to make sure your iCloud account is as secure as possible.

1. Use a Better Password

You’re probably tired of hearing this by now, but a strong password is your best defense against nefarious characters getting access to your accounts. If you’re using your kids’ names, your birthday, or “password” to protect your accounts, you need to change your passwords now.

We have a nearly infinite selection of resources you can use: tips for creating an unbreakable password 6 Tips For Creating An Unbreakable Password That You Can Remember If your passwords are not unique and unbreakable, you might as well open the front door and invite the robbers in for lunch. Read More , how to come up with strong passwords that match your personality How to Generate Strong Passwords That Match Your Personality Without a strong password you could quickly find yourself on the receiving end of a cyber-crime. One way to create a memorable password could be to match it to your personality. Read More , and an explanation of how to use LastPass’s security challenge Master Your Passwords For Good With Lastpass' Security Challenge We spend so much time online, with so many accounts, that remembering passwords can be really tough. Concerned about the risks? Find out how to use LastPass' Security Challenge to improve your security hygiene. Read More to master your passwords. Use these tips and a good password manager How Password Managers Keep Your Passwords Safe Passwords that are hard to crack are also hard to remember. Want to be safe? You need a password manager. Here's how they work and how they keep you safe. Read More to make sure your iCloud password isn’t a liability.

Just do it.


2. Enable Two-Factor Authentication

More services allow two-factor authentication Lock Down These Services Now With Two-Factor Authentication Two-factor authentication is the smart way to protect your online accounts. Let's take a look at few of the services you can lock-down with better security. Read More  (2FA) all the time, and iCloud gives you this option as well. Apple uses its own 2FA method instead of a more popular one like Google Authenticator or Authy, and you’ll need to either have a phone you can receive texts on or another Apple device to activate it.

Once you’ve enabled 2FA, you’ll only be able to access your iCloud account from trusted devices, and when you try to sign on from a device for the first time, you’ll need to enter a code that’s displayed on another of your trusted devices. Even if someone knows your password, they won’t be able to log in unless they also have another of your devices.

To get started, open Settings > iCloud on your iPhone or iPad, and tap your Apple ID at the top of the screen. Tap Password & Security, then hit Turn on Two-Factor Authentication.

iCloud Security Settings on iOS


You can also activate it from your computer by going to System Preferences > iCloud > Account Details > Security. Hit Turn on Two-Factor Authentication and follow the instructions.

3. Change Your iCloud Security Code

Every iCloud user’s Keychain is doubly encrypted and doubly protected. In addition to providing your password, you also need to use the Keychain security code. This is a four- or six-digit code that’s different from the code you use to unlock your iOS device Should You Use a Fingerprint or a PIN to Lock Your Phone? Should you protect your phone with a fingerprint or a PIN? Which one is actually more secure? Read More .

But a four- or six-digit code isn’t all that secure, and could conceivably be cracked without a huge amount of effort (though after a certain number of unsuccessful attempts, your data is moved and further secured until you provide additional information). Instead of one of these codes, you can have Apple generate a random one that’s more secure.

To do this from your Mac, go to System Preferences > iCloud > Keychain Options > Change Security Code. Hit Advanced and you’ll have the option to create a complex code, generate a random one, or not use a code, in which case you’ll need to approve access from another of your devices. The random code is plenty secure, so hit Next and receive your code.


iCloud New Security Code

Here’s the important part: don’t lose this code. Apple doesn’t have this one, so if you lose it, you’re in serious trouble. Put it in a password manager or somewhere else you won’t lose it. Just make sure it’s not easily accessible for someone who might need it to get into your Keychain.

4. Activate Find My iPhone / iPad / Mac

If someone gets a hold of your device, it’s going to be much easier to get access to anything in your iCloud account. Fortunately, Apple lets you lock your device with a custom four-digit code and display a message on the screen in addition to tracking the location so you can go get it. You can even remotely erase your device if you’re not confident you can get it back.

From System Preferences on your Mac or Settings on your iPhone or iPad, go to iCloud and makes sure Find My iPhone (or Mac or iPad) is turned on. You can also enable Send Last Location to share the location of the device when the battery is critically low so you can see where it’s been even if it runs out of battery.


Find My iPhone App

If you lose your device, just sign into iCloud.com and use the Find My iPhone app. It’ll show you the location of your devices on a map. Click the i button on the display and Find my iPhone will give you the option to play a sound to help you find a lost device, engage Lost Mode and lock the screen, or erase the device.

Don’t Be Lazy: Secure iCloud Right Now

iCloud stores a lot of really important information, especially if you backup your devices or store iWork documents there. If you keep all of your photos synced to iCloud 5 Things You Need To Know About iCloud Photo Library Here's what you need to know about iCloud Photo Library, how it works and what it will cost you. Read More , you have even more sensitive information there. And if you allow iCloud to sync your Keychain (which you should, for convenience’s sake), you have some really important stuff there. It’s not a cause for concern, but you should definitely make sure you’re taking the right steps to secure your cloud storage.

It only takes a few minutes, and it could save you a huge headache in the future.

Do you have these features enabled in your own iCloud account? What else might you do to keep it secure? Share your thoughts and tips below!

Related topics: Cloud Storage, Online Security, Two-Factor Authentication.

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  1. Trademysite
    October 4, 2016 at 8:01 am

    I love the points you mentioned in a simple words its really help me to protects icloud account